Liposuction is the most common cosmetic surgery procedure performed today. Liposuction involves making several small incisions approximately 1/5 – 1/3 of an inch long through which a thin metal tube or cannula attached to a vacuum is inserted. The vacuum literally removes the fat from under the skin.
ln general, liposuction works best for people who have one or more localized areas of "resistant" fat but are of normal weight for their body type. This is not a weight reduction method, nor will it eliminate dimpled skin commonly known as cellulite.
Liposuction’s biggest plus is that the fat cells it takes away are gone forever. However, overeating or lack of exercise will still result in general weight gain.
Liposuction works best on the hips, knees, buttocks, and outer thighs ("saddle bags"), lower abdomen, waist and flank areas ("love handles"), breasts (gynecomastia in males) and the front and back of the upper legs. Fat collects in these regions and often cannot be eliminated through exercise and diet. Liposuction may also be performed on the face and neck as an adjunct to facelift or in some cases as a separate procedure.
Small areas can be safely treated in an outpatient center under local anesthesia. More extensive liposuction requires a general anesthetic and may be performed on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Postoperative care includes wearing a snug elastic garment that applies pressure to the treated area for one to three weeks. Many normal activities can be resumed within 10 -14 days and strenuous physical activity is allowed within three to six weeks.
In recent times, newer techniques have been developed utilizing the infusion of a large volume of fluid into the liposuction areas. This has been called the "tumescent" method. In some cases, a rapidly vibrating probe is used to liquify the fatty deposits. This approach is termed "ultrasonic" liposuction.
At the time of your consultation, Dr. Placik will determine the liposuction techniques which will best serve your needs and a thorough individual consultation will be held.
Find out about Laser-Assisted Liposuction.
Click here to view Liposuction before and after photos.
Can you have liposuction anywhere on the body?
Pretty much anywhere there’s a pooling of fatty tissue liposuction can be done. Typical locations are the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, upper arms, chin, and back. The decision would of course be made by your cosmetic surgeon in collaboration with you.
How long do the results of liposuction last?
They last forever in the sense that those particular fat cells will not grow back. But their neighbors could expand if you overeat. Weight gain is a matter of enlarging the fat cells by storing more and more fat in them, rather than of growing new fat cells. The number of fat cells each of us has is mostly determined during early childhood. If you stay with a sensible diet and exercise program, your liposuction results will be permanent.
What is tumescent liposuction?
It’s a method of doing liposuction where the area to be treated is first injected with a fairly large amount of saline solution. There is then a waiting period while the fluid breaks down the fat cells, emulsifying the fatty tissue. This makes it liquid and easier to remove. The saline solution contains lidocaine, an anesthetic, to limit any discomfort. Tumescent means swollen.
What is ultrasonic liposuction?
It’s a way of improving on the traditional liposuction method developed in the late 1980s. Ultrasound is sound that we cannot hear because it’s higher than our hearing range, just as ultraviolet is a color we can’t see. Sound is a type of vibration. Ultrasonic liposuction uses a cannula that vibrates in response to ultrasound. This helps to break up the fatty tissue, making it easier to remove. It can be done along with tumescent liposuction.
Is liposuction safe?
Yes, as long as you choose a fully qualified and experienced surgeon to do it. The best cosmetic surgeons will screen their patients carefully so as not to perform a procedure on a poor candidate. One of the big issues with liposuction is how to remove the fatty tissue as easily as possible without also removing an undue amount of blood or lymph. That is why the saline solution injected at the start of the procedure contains epinephrine (adrenaline) to seal off blood vessels.
The best surgeons also use the most recent equipment. The instruments used internally in the early years of liposuction had a tendency to overheat and burn. The most recent cannulas are water-cooled and the best are made of titanium which stands up well to the continual vibration of the ultrasound.
Am I a good candidate for liposuction?
You could well be, if you are concerned by excess fat on some areas of your body. Liposuction is only done after general weight loss is finished and certain areas remain that are stubbornly holding on to fat. You would also need to:
- Be over age 18
- Be within 30% of your ideal weight
- Have good muscle tone and firm, elastic skin
- Be a non-smoker
- Have no auto-immune disease or any condition that would impair your healing ability
- Have a realistic expectation and a specific goal for your liposuction procedure
Please contact us if you would like to arrange for an initial consultation. Our offices serve the entire Chicago area.